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Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Nadal edges Nalbandian in classic

Indian Wells Masters 1000
Date: 12-22 March Coverage: Live on Sky Sports, updates on BBC Radio 5 Live with text commentary on BBC Sport website
Rafa Nadal
Nadal will now meet Juan Martin Del Potro in the last four

World number one Rafa Nadal survived five match points to defeat David Nalbandian 3-6 7-6 6-0 and reach the Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals.

Argentine Nalbandian had four match points at 5-3 in the second set and another on his own serve at 5-4 but Nadal held on to eventually advance.

Spaniard Nadal will now meet Argentine sixth seed Juan Martin Del Potro.

Elsewhere world number two Roger Federer also advanced after a 6-3 5-7 6-2 win over Chilean Fernando Gonzalez.

Gonzalez had his moments but contributed too many unforced errors and Federer's class told in the end.

Number two seed Federer will now face Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the last eight on Thursday.

Tenth seed Verdasco earlier beat German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 3-6 6-1 in the first match in stadium two.

Federer, who could face Andy Murray if he advances to the semi-finals, said: "I'm looking forward to playing against Verdasco. It's a good thing that I'm facing an opponent who actually is going to extend the rallies a little bit."

Third seed Novak Djokovic was made to battle hard by Stanislas Wawrinka before sealing a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (8-6) victory.

The Serb next faces home favourite and seventh seed Andy Roddick, who saw off 12th seed David Ferrer 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 6-3.

Their last meeting was in this year's Australian Open quarter-finals, where defending champion Djokovic pulled out ill while trailing 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 2-6 1-2.

"It's never easy playing against Andy in the States," said Djokovic. "I wouldn't rate myself as favourite, it could go either way."

Roddick angered Djokovic ahead of their US Open quarter-final last September when he joked that the Serbian overstated his injuries in order to disrupt foes.

The American said: "Are we best friends? Probably not. But I think we have a lot of respect for each other."

Sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro overcame American John Isner 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-3). He will play either top-seeded Rafael Nadal and or fellow Argentine David Nalbandian for a place in the final four.

Unseeded Ivan Ljubicic made it into the quarter-finals with a gritty 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) win over Russian 22nd seed Igor Andreev in which he saved five match points.

The Croat faces British number one Andy Murray in the quarter-finals on Thursday.

In the women's quarter-finals, top seed Dinara Safina took the first set against Victoria Azarenka but the Russian then saw the eighth seed fight back to win 6-7 (4-7) 6-1 6-3.

Belarussian Azarenka, 19, is looking to add to the WTA Tour titles she has already won in Brisbane and Memphis this year.

Safina would have overtaken Serena Williams at the top of the rankings had she reached the final, but she said: "If I play like this, definitely it will not come."

Her compatriot and fourth seed Vera Zvonareva had no such problems against Caroline Wozniacki as she cruised to a 6-4 6-2 win over the Danish ninth seed.

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see also
Nadal & Djokovic stay on course
18 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Indian Wells photos
18 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Low-key Murray plays down hopes
16 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Nadal hits form in Indian Wells
16 Mar 09 |  Tennis
Murray returns with doubles win
13 Mar 09 |  Tennis

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